3 Tips for Navigating a Dark Night of the Soul
Updated: Jul 13
Have you ever felt like pieces of you are dying?
Like nothing makes sense and life as you know it is crumbling?
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?
It sounds dramatic because it feels dramatic.
Welcome to your Dark Night of the Soul.
This is chaos and destruction, which was never meant to be subtle. This is a metaphorical death. The parts of your life that are no longer working for you are falling away.
Let’s look to our animal ally, the butterfly for inspiration.
When a caterpillar goes into its chrysalis, it literally dissolves. It morphs into a new species. When the butterfly is ready to emerge, it takes internal pressure from inside the chrysalis for the newly formed butterfly to break free.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing that’s pretty uneasy at times for the butterfly.
A Dark Night of the Soul is when life as you know it ceases to exist and everything is crumbling. Your beliefs are shifty and uncertain.
It feels awful, like a tsunami strikes out of nowhere and drowns you. Your sense of emotional safety is obliterated. Nothing feels stable.
Dark Nights of the Soul are deeply personal. It can be very difficult to explain to anyone else what you are going through.
People around you may not even recognize the shifts that you are feeling.
That’s ok, because this is your time to turn inward. Dissolve and reform yourself into something new.
I’ve learned to embrace these Dark Nights of the Soul. I allow myself to grieve the old. I welcome the beautiful butterfly.
Embracing the dissolution doesn’t make it easy, but the process is more tolerable when you surrender. Seek meaning in this stage of the cycle.
When you are feeling lost, finding meaning in the darkness will motivate you to get through it.
The meaning is growth.
The meaning is trust in yourself.
The meaning is getting to know yourself on a soul level.
Reflect back on other times in your life when things went to shit and you made it through.
You will make it through this too.
Here are some things that might help:
1. Give yourself space.
It is time to put yourself first. Take a sick day. Clear your calendar. Grief demands a voice. Honor it by letting it breathe.
2. Declutter everything.
Your energy, your space, your desk drawer, your closet, your glove compartment, your social media feed. Get fierce with it. Anything that doesn’t feel good needs to go. This is how you make space for the new.
3.Tell someone what you are going through.
The most painful part of being a human is feeling alone. It seems like no one else could possibly understand what you are going through. But if you don’t talk about it, then you definitely will go through it alone. The amount of support and love that you have around you is abundant when you allow others to witness and hold you.
Remember, this is not the first time you have been through this. This is a natural cycle of growth and there is nothing wrong with you.
Not only will you make it through, but you will be wiser and stronger.
Tell me a time when you made it through a Dark Night of the Soul in the comments.